How to Live a Longer Life

August 22, 2012

in Everyday Jesus,Everyday Words,Personal Disciplines

My boy sees the younger girls finally happy and distracted and he asks if he can have his turn and sit in my lap while we read.  I make it through a few pages and he slides down, says he’ll just sit next to me.  And he can feel what I know-that his legs are long now and his body is bigger and things are changing.

And the baby, she looks behind her and when I’m in the kitchen, she races to the stairs and starts her climb and before I know it, she’s babbling at the top-all the way at the top.  How did this happen in only 10 months’ time?

The toddler is talking and running and wanting to do everything everyone else is doing.   And she’d die if she knew I was still calling her a toddler.  

And my big girl is now really big-reading and writing and really in kindergarten.  She pulls up a chair to the sink and cleans carrots and says it, ‘I’m really becoming like a Mommy now, aren’t I?’ 

I agree and I know that if Christ tarries and we live to see it, the world will turn only a few more times and she really might be a mommy and I really might be a grandmother and these days will certainly have felt like a breath.

We walk early down the sidewalk and I meet a new neighbor and the kids let her dog lick their faces.  They giggle and she tells me about all her kids now grown tall and off at school and she says, ‘These years you’re living now, these really are the best years.’  

And that makes me a little nervous.

What do I do to capture these years, to bottle and treasure these moments?  How do I keep from trembling at the thought that these years are momentary and all of this could change in a given moment?

Should I take more pictures?  Write it all down?  Sit still and watch more often?  

How can I make this life last longer?

This morning, I wake with the baby and creep down in the dark and feel the changes in this aging body-the neck pains and the persistent ache in my side.  I look in the mirror as I wash hands and see the changes in my eyes, how my skin’s changing and I read this:

‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.’  Luke 21:33

And finally this feels like a real answer.

Because deep down I know that good pictures can only frame up the moment for a moment, but winds and water and a hard drive crashing can steal those images away forever.  

Deep down I know that even I write it all down, my eyes may one day grow too dull to read my scribbling.

Deep down I know that even if I stop and sit and try to capture all of this with thanks and intention in my mind, my mind may one day fail me.  Even my memory is not promised.  

Deep down I can feel it-that the only way to feel like any of this life can last is to live this life according to everlasting words.

This is what the Proverb says-

that the house, {the sturdy, well-built, long lasting house}, of the wicked will be destroyed,  

but that the tent, {the temporary, leaning, makeshift tent}, of the righteous will flourish.  Proverbs 14:11

I can just rent a house here, move 100 times, always forget my camera, never write a single momentous moment down, and yet live a life that is permanent, lasting, memorable, and significant.

If only I will spend this life, this week, this day, this moment in the Word.  

This is the way to live a longer life, to treasure these moments that pass too quickly, to soak up the days.  This is the way and it’s offered to all of us.

His Word is right there, on the table, for the taking.  And all we have to do is take time to pick it up and read.

And whatever comes, boys sliding out of our laps and babies crawling away fast, health failing and wrinkles appearing, memory slipping, whatever comes.  None of it will cause His Word to slide or fail or slip away.  

I close the book with the torn cover and the marks where the toddler has colored the edges and I can’t believe it-that I can hold words that will never pass away right here in my aging and weak hands.

And I pray for grace to let go of all that promises a longer and fuller life and instead keep both hands right here and never, ever let these Words (that will never ever go away) go away from me.  

Thank you for grace as I’ve been gone for the last week or so.  


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